The Miracles of Jesus Christ
Extract from Barbelo – The Story of Jesus Christ, by Riaan Booysen
Christ claimed to be the Son of God and the only way in which he would have been able to prove his claim to divinity would have been by performing supernatural ‘miracles’. A ‘miracle’ is generally understood to be a case where physical matter instantaneously changes from one state to another through the mere command or desire (belief) of a person, or a force that can be exerted in a supernatural manner (moving objects without the application of physical force), and so on. Criticism against miracles is usually countered by the argument that, God, as the Almighty Creator, is omnipotent and able to do anything He desires.
Assuming for a moment that such a God, being a He, She, Them or It, does indeed exist, let’s take a look at ‘miracles’ from a practical angle. Let’s call them the Ferrari Gods, who exist in a heaven called Italy. They have just finished the design of their latest Formula One car and the first prototype has passed its test drive with flying colours. However, the test driver afterwards claims that he was able to fly to the moon with this new Ferrari. Would anyone believe him? Of course not. And could the Ferrari Gods themselves get into this Ferrari and fly to the moon? Of course not. They did not design it for that purpose. If they had wanted to fly to the moon, they would have designed a Space Shuttle instead.
So, what is my point? The Ferrari of the Creation (to use Christian terminology) is called ‘Physics’. Everything in the universe is subject to the Laws of Physics. Therefore, no ‘miracle’ that has ever been performed, either back then or today, by anyone, will survive the scrutiny of the Laws of Physics.
In Barbelo I argue that Christ was originally known as Simon Magus, which literally means Simon the Magician (see related article). Christ himself was also accused of being a magician, so, assuming that He had indeed performed ‘miracles’, how did he manage to do it? The answer is simple – he was an illusionist, no different from any illusionist we know today, and like any such deceptions, it merely required various degrees of preparation.
- The Coin in the Fish
This is a dead giveaway. Whoever opened the mouth of the fish, either Peter or one of the other disciples, would have used the very first trick any aspiring illusionist has to master, which is to make an object appear as if from nowhere.
- The Miraculous Fish Catch
The deception of the miraculous fish catch was most likely achieved by suspending underneath the boat a net filled long in advance with live fish or, if the lake was shallow enough, in a net lowered to the bottom of the lake. When Simon Peter cast his net into the water, it was simply allowed to sink to the bottom, after which the net filled with fish was hoisted up, and a ‘miracle’ was proclaimed.
- Turning Water into Wine
A modern illusionist would probably perform this ‘miracle’ in the following manner. Someone makes a scene about there being no wine left (a planned shortage), ensuring that there are many witnesses to the event. The illusionist then orders what appears to be an arbitrary group of men (in this instance, the waiters) to fill the jars with water in clear view of all the witnesses. On their way to place the jars of water in an agreed location, those who carry the jars momentarily disappear from sight by, for example, moving through a group of people or passing behind an obstruction. The jars containing water are quickly switched for identical jars previously filled with wine. The unsuspecting witnesses hardly notice anything out of the ordinary, and, to their amazement, the water has been turned into wine.
- Feeding Thousands
Christ had close ties with one of the richest families in Jerusalem, the Boethus family. He would, therefore, have had access to huge reserves of food, and the bread loaves and fish were simply concealed from view and then secretly passed on to the disciples, who distributed it among the masses.
- Walking on Water
In calm, shallow waters it would have been possible to walk on stepping stones laid just below the surface of the water, leading up to a previously determined point of rendezvous with Peter’s boat. Dusk would have been chosen to prevent the stepping stones from being spotted by the witnesses, and Christ would have been dressed in white to make him clearly visible. Peter also attempted the walk-on-water miracle but missed one of the stones and ended up in the water. No doubt the critics of Christ would have seen through the deception, and his followers subsequently had to introduce a raging storm and the subsequent calming of the sea after the walk on the water in an attempt to refute their allegations.
- Faith Healing
Probably the most controversial aspect of modern Christianity, the healing of various illnesses and diseases through faith, has changed little since the miracles performed by Christ. Those who are supposedly blind, lame, or deaf or who suffer extreme pain only need to lie for the miracle to be accomplished, but the healing of physical deformity and disability can practically only be achieved by making use of twins, one of which is afflicted. Such a pair would have been invaluable to any travelling magician in the time of Christ. There may be several reasons why anyone would participate in such fraud, but the two most prominent are: first, most likely to deliberately promote the cause of the ‘healer’ by his team, and second, doing so for money when outsiders are involved.
- The Raising of Lazarus
The raising of the dead would be the Holy Grail of miracles, and is worth looking at in greater detail. The sisters Mary (Magdalene) and Martha sent word to Christ that Lazarus, ‘the one he loves,’ was sick, but when Christ eventually reached Bethany, their hometown, Lazarus had died and had already been buried for four days. Christ was met by Martha, but Mary ‘stayed at home.’ He comforted the mourning sisters and was ‘deeply moved in spirit and troubled’ and wept. Martha took Christ to the tomb, which was opened, and Christ promptly called for the deceased Lazarus to come out from the tomb. Lazarus obliged and emerged from the cave, still wrapped in linen and cloth. A hint at how Christ managed to ‘revive’ the deceased Lazarus is given in a text called The Secret Gospel of Mark in which the raising of Lazarus is briefly recounted. Curiously, though, it is stated that ‘a great cry was heard from the tomb’ before Christ and Martha opened the grave. There is, of course, no such thing as the revival of the dead, which leads one to suspect that this miracle must have been yet another of Christ’s deceptions.
The ‘miracle’ was most likely performed as follows: Lazarus either pretended to be sick or more likely was given something to make him appear sick. When he ‘died,’ he would have been given a drug to prevent him from making involuntary movements while family members and friends came to mourn him. Once he had been buried, he would have left the tomb secretly, and the body of a deceased person would have been placed inside. Just before the arrival of Christ, with much fanfare and numerous witnesses, Lazarus would have slipped into the tomb, waiting for Christ’s call to reappear. It would seem, however, that the young man completely underestimated the horror of being locked up in a confined space with a rotting corpse and eventually began screaming to be released. No doubt, both his sisters and Christ would have found Lazarus’s predicament hilarious, which probably accounts for Mary not leaving the house to meet Christ, as she must have struggled to control her laughter. Christ is recorded as having wept in sorrow, but one can imagine that he, too, could hardly contain himself, and that he had to clutch his face with both hands to conceal his true emotions. The tears streaming down his face and his shaking body would have been interpreted as intense sorrow by those who were unaware of the deception, but those tears would have been tears of laughter.
It is important to note that many people, scholars and novices alike, have wondered why Christ was weeping at all when he approached Lazarus’s grave, as he knew very well that he was about to revive him again a short while later. Not only that, the word translated as ‘troubled’ actually means that Christ was angry! Why on earth would he have been angry? The explanation is simple – he was actually furious because Lazarus’s calling from the grave was about the blow the deception’s cover! Christ would have become the laughing stock of Israel if his deception was to be revealed! I have no doubt that his followers who were in on the deception, immediately began to ‘mourn’ very loudly when they heard the calls coming from the grave, in order to drown them. As simple as that.
All the other instances of Christ reviving deceased persons can likewise be explained. The deceased and his or her family had to be involved in the deception right from the start, either as willing participants or having been paid to do so. Of particular interest is the raising of the deceased son of a widow who lived in Nain. In this instance the dead boy was being carried out of the city in a coffin, presumably to be buried, when Christ encountered the funeral procession. He touched the coffin and instructed the boy to sit up, which he promptly did. There can be no question that the boy had been anything but dead, and that his ‘death’ must have been well orchestrated to convince friends and family members that he had actually died. A widow in need would have been more than willing to participate in this deception, provided that the compensation was sufficient.
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